Kelley Buttrick fell into voiceover work before she even knew it was a legitimate career option. Previously a promotions director at television and radio stations, she often stepped in for voice commercials. After Buttrick’s first daughter was born, she made the switch to freelance work so that she could have more flexibility in balancing her career and family life.
As Buttrick’s professional and academic experience focused on theater, public relations and media, she had developed a slew of useful freelance marketing tips and tricks over the years. This valuable skill set helped her bring in business from the get-go: “I made a nice profit my first year in business,” Buttrick explains. “In my second year, my voiceover business grew by five times the first. By the third year, I doubled the second year — and my business has grown each year since.” Recently, the voiceover artist even won four Telly Awards for content she created as part of her monumental KB4Jeep marketing campaign.
Now that both of her daughters are in school all day, Buttrick is back to full-time freelance voiceover work. With clients like Disney, Country Crock, J.C. Penney and Dick’s Sporting Goods, she credits her success to her marketing efforts and strong client relationships — not her voice. Check out her freelance marketing tips to stand out:
Think Like Your Clients and Do Your Research
Buttrick stresses the importance of understanding your clients’ needs so that you can develop the right marketing efforts to reach them. So, how can you put yourself in your client’s shoes? According to Buttrick, you should start by asking yourself the following questions: “What are our clients reading? Which social media channels do they use? Which podcasts have interviewed them? What is their work process? What challenges do they face?”
Personalize Your Marketing Outreach and Materials
Once you conduct the necessary research on your audience, use this information to craft personalized messages and materials for current and potential clients. Of course, this process will take more time, but the results are usually worth the additional effort. “There’s a place for mass emails and bulk purchases of branded items, but I’ve found that personalizing my marketing messages has a greater impact on driving business growth,” says Buttrick.
Try New Marketing Tactics, But Know What Works Best for You
As a best practice, you should strive to stay abreast of the latest marketing trends, and push yourself to try new techniques. But remember to focus on what feels natural for your personality and industry. “I despise cold calling,” says Buttrick. “I have colleagues who swear by it, but I will never do it. If a marketing strategy feels awkward to you, it will come off as awkward to your target audience.”
Nurture Your Existing Client Relationships
“Make sure you get to know your clients and genuinely care about them,” Buttrick advises. Strive to think beyond the current scope of your projects to further cultivate your client relationships. As Buttrick suggests, you should consider sharing relevant articles with your clients and calling their attention to new marketing opportunities to further expand their reach. And don’t forget to engage with your clients on social media, as well.
Don’t Overlook the Details That Matter
As a freelancer, it’s crucial that your online identity is visible, consistent and integrated. Review your email signature, portfolio website, tagline, news features and social media profiles with this in mind. Want to take a page out of Buttrick’s playbook? Include your website, tagline and links to your recent work in your email signature.
Reflect On Your Victories to Stay Motivated
Buttrick’s biggest challenges continue to be overcoming self-doubt and finding the right work-life balance. “I absolutely love what I do, which sometimes makes it hard to turn off the open sign and be a mom, wife, daughter and friend,” she explains.
To overcome these hurdles, the freelancer reminds herself of her successes — both in marketing and her voiceover work — on a regular basis. “When I first started, I kept a list tacked onto the wall beside me in the studio and would handwrite the names of big projects or kudos directors gave me in session, any little victory,” she shares. By reflecting on your daily wins, you can give yourself that little push you need to keep moving forward.
As a freelancer, it’s critical that you take the time to establish your personal brand. But make sure you’re thinking big picture: Marketing isn’t just about your business card or email signature — it’s also about how you conduct yourself with clients and peers. Take some time to reflect on your career goals and your personal temperament to determine which marketing tactics will work best for you.